The Parish Council is aware of concerns about the status of the Ashridge deer management programme. In response to our query Suzie Mercer, the NT General Manager responsible for Ashridge, said “there is no truth in the rumour that we have ‘admitted to over-culling the deer’”.
She goes on to say
“A cull target was set at the start of the season by a panel of nature conservation experts within the National Trust. The target was based on clear evidence of negative deer impact within the woodlands and deer counts. We also commissioned a report from an independent, external body called the Deer Initiative, whose findings and recommendations were shared with the expert panel who set the cull target.
The cull is progressing as planned and we are not far short of reaching the target.
I understand that some people think we are continuing purely because of contractual undertakings with our stalkers and local butchers. There is no truth in either of those suggestions. We have no contracts at all with local butchers and our contractual arrangements with our stalkers enable us to stop the cull prior to meeting the target, should we choose to do so.
I do hope that this sets peoples’ minds at rest. As always, if people have concerns or questions about our work, they’re very welcome to give us a call or make an appointment to come in and see us.”